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Grammar detail: ことができる

ことができる - can do
141 words
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verb plain form
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ことができる
or the more polite
ことができます
expresses the idea that you are able to do something.
にほんご
日本語
はな
ことができます
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This construction is essentially the same as the potential form of a verb. This construction is often taught before the potential because it is simpler to use - just add ことができる to the dictionary form of any verb.
ことができる formverb potential formmeaning
くことができる
ける
I can go
べることができます
べられます
I can eat (it)
Although most native speakers consider the expressions equivalent, some describe a subtle difference between the two forms (see the link below for a discussion).
Note that the verb before ことができる uses the present tense, even if the action described is in the past. The tense of the sentence is determined by the tense of できる.
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Kanji used in this grammar

コウ   ギョウ   アン   ゆ    い to go   おこな to take place   
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ショク   ジキ    food   たべる to eat   く to eat   
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ニチ   ジツ   sun; day   ひ    -か    
ホン   book   もと origin   
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ゴ   かた to talk, relate   かたらう to talk together, chat   
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ワ   はな to talk   はなし talking   
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